Wednesday, July 30, 2014

Being Yourself

Good morning all.  We've been having some lovely weather here.  Low humidity, cooler temperatures.  Unlike last year where we roasted for days on end.  I'd forgotten yesterday when I posted that I was scheduled to attend a nutrition class yesterday.  It was on healthy snacks.  I already know about healthy snacks, but this gives me something to do...and maybe I might learn something I didn't know.  I've always loved classes and was in my glory when my job would schedule me for one.  During the last few years, though, there were no outside courses, only those taught by our nurse or director and those left a lot to be desired.

Just being ourselves is the biggest fear of humans. We have learned to live our life trying to satisfy other people's demands. We have learned to live by other people's points of view because of the fear of not being accepted and of not being good enough for someone else.

Don Miguel Ruiz
Anna is a volunteer at the senior center.  She is also a client and a friend. Anna is only signed up to monitor the two stationary bikes in the gym area (actually the bikes ARE the gym) from 11 am to 12 pm on Mondays, but not everyone who signed on to help does so.  Most are not reliable, and to be honest, they know that Anna will always cover, even giving up her beloved Bingo game. (She loves Bingo more than anyone I know). 

Anna also signed on to help with the lunch.  It is her job to hand out the juice. Afterwards, someone else comes around with the bread, butter, and plastic utensils, another serves the coffee, tea and water, another serves the milk, and finally someone comes around with the lunch.  Most of the lunch volunteers eat a half hour earlier than the rest of us, but Anna chooses to hold off on hers so that she can eat with us. And, she should have plenty of time to do so. By the time lunch comes around, her job is long over.  Problem is, she never ends with her job.

Anna takes it upon herself to go from table to table asking if everything is all right, did they get their milk, do they need ketsup, etc.  Meanwhile, her food is getting cold, and she never does get to eat.  Anna is a 'people pleaser'.  Her entire life has been devoted to satisfying other people's demands while putting her own wants and needs on hold. She really could use some new clothes, but she buys Bingo cards every day for a number of people who don't contribute, gives her gifts away, and buys coffee and cookies for everyone at the table in the morning.  She offers me, but I always refuse.  I have my yogurt instead. 

Everyone abuses her.  Her children, her friends, her neighbors.  I listen to her when she speaks, and from what she says, she is at the beck and call of her neighbors as well, even to the point of giving away her food.  Anna is a Saint.  But, is she taking her giving nature to the extreme?  It is definitely better to give than receive, and I know how good I feel when I make someone happy, but where does one draw the line?

I was a people pleaser who set my own needs aside for many years. I did everything for everyone, even when it left me feeling unhappy. A neighbor's husband went into detox leaving her totally, and I cooked and carried her a plate every night. When his check came in, and he walked out of the detox without completing, the two of them treated me like I had done something wrong.  We never spoke again. And that was the way my life went. I loaned people money for lunch while going without myself and never did get it back. I gave and gave and gave until I had no more to give.  But when does giving from the heart become people pleasing.  I think it is when giving makes you feel crappy, and you sense, no, you know that you are being used.

I guess I thought that I had to give for people to like me. Part of my childhood insecurity which followed me throughout much of my adult life.  Always being the odd little girl left out, the one that no one wanted on their team. If only they would like me I would be happy. Not true. One of the things I have learned is that real happiness  depends on being glad for who you are and not for what you can do for or give to others.  Oh, there are times when I catch myself, but lifetime lessons are hard to change. The key to healing came from finding myself, learning how to like myself, learning to be alone with myself and be comfortable with myself.   It doesn't come from pleasing others.  It comes from pleasing the self.
Once you have found yourself
and accepted your aloneness,
then the greatest blessing is to share
the love that arises within you.
Each new moment presents
the richest opportunity to be loving.
And you can share love
in the simplest of ways.
Be soft and gentle.
Be caring and kind.
Be loving in an ordinary way,
without any sense
of wanting anything back,
Life offers you
the most precious gift.
The gift of allowing you
to be present and share love. 
Leonard Jacobson


  1. People pleasing is a condition which plagues many women because we are often socialized to do it as our traditional role in life.

  2. That was me ( well not to that same degree)....once upon a time.
    I've learned that I am in charge of my own happiness!
    Some people can't or won't change. It's their "self worth."
    I hope Anna gets her rewards in Heaven.